Last night, the husband and i were invited to attend a screening of the original "scarface" starring paul muni and george raft and directed by howard hawks. the screening was held in glendale, at the alex theater, one of the last remaining movie "palaces" in los angeles. it is a beautiful theater, built in 1925, with a cross between greek and egyptian architecture. the show opened with a big band concert featuring a young man and woman singing songs of the 1930's.
as i was tapping my feet and swaying to the music, i happened to glance around at some of the other 1498 patrons of the sold out theater. i noticed that a large percentage of them were actually dressed in costumes depicting gangsters and their molls of the '30's. i was fascinated. what kind of people get all dressed in costume to come see a movie, on a wednesday night, in glendale? didn't they have jobs? didn't they know there is a war going on and that people are dying in darfur and that my housekeeper threatened to quit? who are these shallow, superficial people. had the husband not stopped me, i was just about to tap the ersatz al capone and his faux mae west, who were seated in front of me, on the shoulder and ask, "who are you"? not "who are you" in a conversational tone reserved for chance meetings at cocktail parties, but "who are you?" in that slightly judgemental, sarcastic, tone that the husband finds so very annoying.
i resisted my impulse and sat back to enjoy the very campy film but i could not let go of my wonderment at how strange some people are. how easily they can be led astray by pop culture and a chance to worship at the shrine of even antiquated celebrity. it took us almost an hour to get home. even at 10:30 pm there is no good way to get from glendale to the beach in less than that. by the time we pulled into our driveway we were both exhausted. as the husband got ready to go to sleep, i headed directly to the den. "what are you doing" he called from his side of the king sized bed. "nothing, i'll be in in a minute", i said as i was frantically pushing the buttons to activate our tivo. two more times he called out to me - two more times i told him "just a second". finally, he got out of bed and came into the den. i was too absorbed in the picture on the screen - an octogenarian with dyed orange hair interviewing a young airhead with dyed blond hair - to notice him enter the room. "paris hilton" he shouted - busted!
i had the good grace to look at him with shame but not enough shame to turn the t.v off. the husband turned to go back to bed but as he was leaving, over his shoulder he asked, in his most scornful of voices, "who are you"?